65 sailors (boys and girls) aged between nine and 15 travelled to Lough Ree and Broadmeadow Malahide on these two weekends to compete in this prestigious event.
The conditions were predominantly light with only five races held in winds above ten knots.
Brian CRAIG was the PRO for the two weekends.
The first five finishers qualified for the World Championships which are being held in St. Moritz, Switzerland (a lake venue at 1,800m above sea level) in late July/early August.
The next seven sailors (of which at least three have to be of the same gender) qualify for the European Championships to be held in Gdansk, Poland in early July.
The event was dominated by Katie TINGLE from the start as she continued her good form from her national title in 2004 with consistent performances. This allowed her the luxury of qualifying for the world team with three races to go. This will be TINGLE's fourth time representing her country at an international Optimist championship, having competed in two European and one world championships already.
Her fellow club member David KENEFICK also performed very consistently throughout to finish second with Timothy O LAOIRE coming in third. Ed BUTLER having been a squad member for two years running came in fourth followed closely by his club mate Alyson RUMBALL.
RUMBALL was under pressure right up to the finish of the last race as young hopeful Cian O REGAN completed a very impressive trials to finish sixth. He was holding the last world championship team place until the last race with two points to spare. However RUMBALL pulled through in the heavier airs of the last race to secure the last team spot.
O REGAN was followed closely by Diana KISSANE, Tiffany BRIEN, Matty O DOWD, Jack COSTIGAN, Maeve LEONARD and Suzanne BURKE.
BURKE and LEONARD were outside of team positions up until the last race when they needed big results to pull them back into the team places. LEONARD went out and won the last race which confirmed her place. With BURKE placed twelfth at the last leeward mark of the last race it looked like she would miss the elusive team place (this was her fourth trials) but great credit due to her determination, she pulled back up to second place on the last beat to secure the last European team place.
Also selected was the Under 12 squad, which will receive coaching and attend the British Nationals in Wales in August.
As IODAI President, Richard KISSANE said in the presentation speech, it was the tightest finish to a trials in a long while, with places on the teams not confirmed until the completion of the last race - an indication of the high level of competition that these young sailors now compete in.
Robert DIX, newly elected President of the Irish Sailing Association, congratulated all the sailors on their great achievement. As ambassadors for their country in Poland, Switzerland and Great Britain, he emphasized the importance of working together as a team.
Under 12s Squad